My sister sent me a text this week, embedded in which was a video of a tornado sweeping across parts of New Hanover, a little town in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, equi-distant between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown.

It was quite biblical, the punishing scenes showing an enraged column of wind blowing across the landscape. The angry twirling cone of sand and dust indiscriminately picked up objects in its path — chickens, corrugated iron roofs and a small goat. It uprooted giant trees, literally tore them from the ground, and cut a swathe of utter destruction as it flattened mud huts that are people’s homes.

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